Dynamics 365 Tech(nically just Operations) Conference Recap

Earlier this week, much of the Dynamics 365 for Operations community was in Seattle to learn, discuss and share knowledge about everyone’s favorite ERP solution. There was an abundance of exciting news, so without further ado, let’s get right to it.

Microsoft, for Three!

The official announcement of three Dynamics 365 deployment options came out at the beginning of this month, setting the framework for a pretty hot topic at the tech conference. Since some of this information has already been speculated and confirmed as we discussed in one of our other recent posts, we’ll just hit the main points.

Dynamics 365 for Operations Deployment Options

Of course, the newest deployment option garnered the most curiosity. Local Business Data is the new on premise option, and though it is excellent news for those businesses who can’t make any kind of move to the cloud, it isn’t without its limitations. For one, all fixes and updates will still be delivered via LCS (an ONLINE product), which really shouldn’t be a problem for anyone, but it’s worth noting.

The main constraints in the Local Business Data deployment are not with Dynamics 365 for Operations itself, but the technologies around it. Cloud services such as embedded PowerBI and Machine Learning do not come with the Local Business Data deployment, and while they may be added as separate subscriptions down the road, they will require connectors that currently do not exist.
Basically, if you want the latest and greatest as soon as it becomes available, you’re going to have to start your cloud journey in some way or another. While licensing details aren’t expected until April 1st(more on that below), it is a safe bet that Microsoft will be making the cloud option the most enticing. It is also entirely possible that cloud+edge might just actually be the best of both worlds.

Common Data Model dynamics 365

Here’s a mysterious topic that has been speculated on since Dynamics 365 was announced back in October at AXUG Summit. Good news! Things are getting a little clearer.

Here’s your rundown:

Why CDS (Common Data Service)?

  1. Focal point for all data
  2. Simplifies app creation, deployment, and management
  3. It works with other MS services and apps

Used by

  • Power users: people inside the company we want to enable them
  • IT Admin: manage your company data, security
  • ISV app developers: data model, just need to know how it looks
  • App developers: build apps for the company

Focal point for your data

  • Common data model – 70 different entities
  • Microsoft provides basic model, but it is extendable
  • Updates released every two weeks
  • Field groups are shipped to help creating apps
  • Power BI tabular module provided as freebie
  • Manage data via Excel
  • CDS entities via Excel

Security

  • Database can be open or restricted
  • Currently available at the entity level
  • Record level security is coming soon

PowerApps portal

  • web.powerapps.com
  • Build apps with PowerApps
  • Translation for about 50 languages

What is coming next:

1. Data integration

  • Provide apps with fully integrated view of data across the D365 family (Operations, Sales, Financials)
  • Productivity data (Contacts, Meetings) is integrated with Business data
  • Third party data integrated with CDS

2. DK goes into preview

  • Should help enhancing PowerApps
  • Enables developers and ISV to build on CDS
  • Same SDK that was used for 1st party

3. Declarative entity forms

  • Makes app creation of PowerApps even more point and click mode

4. Timeline

  • Next a couple weeks: security, RLS, 1st party stat and processes
  • Q22017 release

5. Pricing / licensing

  • It’s about create vs use
  • Need a P2 license

Going Mobile

Over a year ago when Dynamics AX (AX7) was released, it was plain to see that mobility had huge potential. Fast forward to November 2016, Dynamics 365 for Operations and an official mobile app. While the app isn’t exactly new at this point, there are some cool features to talk about.

mobile workspaces dynamics 365 tech conference

Because it is cross-platform, the app is downloaded from whatever platform’s app store you are running it on (iOS, Android, Windows) and updated by Microsoft every month. While utilizing the Dynamics 365 for Operations mobile app isn’t the only way to take your operations mobile, the case for its use is getting more and more compelling.

  • Connects to Dynamics 365 for Operations instance and downloads mobile forms and data
  • Mobile forms can be edited in the browser and deployed immediately, without restarting device
  • 5 Mobile Workspaces currently available, Microsoft is about to release 6 more
    • Existing workspaces can be re-used/customized to create custom Mobile Workspaces and forms
  • Open sourcecode and manuals are available on GitHub, including Mobile App development handbook
    Other options for taking Operations mobile are PowerApps+CDM, PowerApps+SQL Azure, and Xamarin.

Licensing & Pricing

While most everyone is familiar with the cloud licensing and pricing by now, the details pertaining to the Local Business Data deployment option could change the status quo. These details and other transition information is set to be released April 1st.   Below is the current cloud pricing as it exists now:

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Pricing

Dynamics 365 for Operations local business data and cloud plus edge licensing

Beyond the general 15% discount on Dynamics 365, upgrade customers have their own pricing process based on their prior level of commitment to Dynamics AX:

existing ax investments to dynamics 365

Dynamics ax on premise to Dynamics 365 offer